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Professor Kills Three at Faculty Meeting

[Please note: This is a big, quickly moving story. This post contains many updates.]


UD reader David sends this to UD. It’s from the Associated Press, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A woman opened fire during a biology faculty meeting at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus Friday, killing three people and injuring at least one more.

The shooter was in custody, but university spokesman Ray Garner said he could not identify her or the victims. Local television stations reported she is a faculty member.

Garner said three people were dead and a fourth injured. Trent Willis, chief of staff for Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, said several other people had been shot, but he did not have an exact number or their conditions…

The university’s home page.

Faculty member Amy Bishop is in custody. Her home page has been taken down.


I’m passing this along, but I’m skeptical:

WAFF also is reporting that law enforcement sources say a female faculty member learned during a Biology faculty meeting that she would not receive tenure. She then pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Since when are you informed you’ve been turned down for tenure in a meeting, in front of the faculty? I have trouble believing any department is this nasty. It is, on the other hand, possible that she had, maybe this afternoon, received a letter or phone call telling her she’d been turned down… And after thinking about this for a while, she decided to pack a gun.

: From a National Public Radio blog:

The accused shooter was denied tenure by the university Friday morning. According to the reporter, the woman then returned to a biology faculty meeting this afternoon and allegedly started shooting her colleagues.


The blog Media Elites

provides this picture.

Taken into custody.


Live local coverage.


Her archived web page.


UD‘s sister sends her this detail from Britain’s Daily Mail — not an impeccable source, so make of it what you will:

The neuro-scientist’s husband opened the door for his wife before she started shooting, according to local reports.


Names of those shot, from the Huntsville Times:

G.K. Podila, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson, all three faculty members at the university, died shortly after the afternoon shooting at the Shelby Center.

Joseph Leahy is in critical condition at Huntsville Hospital. Stephanie Monticello and Luis Rogelio Cruz-Vera are now stable, officials said.


Update, Saturday morning: If the details in this Daily News piece are correct, we can begin to suggest a few things about this event.

As one might imagine, there’s now evidence that the shooter was known to be unstable. The husband of one of the killed “said his wife had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as ‘not being able to deal with reality.'”

If he is also correct that his wife “was at a meeting to discuss the tenure status of a faculty member who got angry,” then presumably this was a meeting to which Bishop had not been invited, because her tenure status was being discussed.

In which case, the detail from the Daily Mail (none of these details is yet confirmed) about Bishop’s husband (not a faculty member) opening the door for her before she began shooting suggests that she crashed the meeting — with his help.

It’s not clear whether Bishop had already been notified of denial of tenure, went into a rage, got her gun, burst into the meeting… Or whether this was the meeting during which faculty would discuss and vote on her tenure (but there were assistant professors there, so this seems unlikely), and she, knowing the likely outcome, attacked them before it could be reached.


According to this NYT account, published an hour ago, she did not storm the room.

On Friday, Ms. Bishop presided over her regular class before going to a biology faculty meeting where she sat quietly for about 30 or 40 minutes, said one University of Alabama faculty member who had spoken to people that were in the room. Then, she pulled out a gun and began shooting, firing several rounds before her gun either jammed or ran out of bullets, the faculty member said.

Margaret Soltan, February 12, 2010 7:06PM
Posted in: amy bishop, the university

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2 Responses to “Professor Kills Three at Faculty Meeting”

  1. Michael Tinkler Says:

    My provost always says that it is in the self-interest of a person denied tenure (or even given a negative 3rd year review) to go on for the next year working even harder so that everyone will write good recommendations for the NEXT job. This woman may have STARTED to do that by attending the first dept meeting since her denial and then…

  2. University Diaries » More On Amy Bishop and the University of Alabama Huntsville Says:

    […] already written a long post tracking the Amy Bishop story. As more details emerge, I’ll post them. Here are a couple of things […]

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